Lunchtime Links: Don’t Let Things Grow Too Quickly

Growing your organization’s staff too quickly can hurt it instead of improve it. Also: Don’t focus on yearly performance reviews. Your staff needs constant feedback.

Things are going well. Your organization is growing faster than you ever anticipated. Your members are able to get better benefits, attend stronger conferences, and your staff is busy. Hiring more employees might seem like the obvious solution, but be careful: If staff growth is not handled with care, getting bigger too fast can hinder your organization.

How to maintain quality during a growth spurt, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Keep it small: Scott Lerner, founder of energy drink company Solixir, wanted to expand his business. But the company struggled when it grew too “fat and happy” and spent money too quickly. The experience taught Lerner several lessons about how to grow a business. No. 1: Wait for need to catch up to ambition before bringing on new hires. “Hiring this way will help you stay attuned to creating positions as they are needed, rather than following a blueprint you’ve laid out,” Inc. tech writer Minda Zetlin reports on Lerner’s experience. Does your organization have a plan to ensure responsible growth?

Give constant feedback: Some organizations give staff feedback once a year in the form of year-end performance reviews. But at least one former association executive says persistent, incremental feedback is the way to go. “Encouraging feedback has operational benefits and it also contributes to an overall healthy, open culture. That means communicating about both successes and failures throughout the organization,” writes Virgil R. Carter, former chief staff officer of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Carter cites an article written by Denis Wilson in Fast Company. For feedback to be effective, it “can’t be a special occasion,” Wilson explains. How often do you give your employees feedback at work?

The value of delivery: Technology is changing how people learn. As Jeff Hurt, executive vice president of education and engagement at Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, says, most of the knowledge your members are looking for is available on the internet. For organizations to provide effective education that goes beyond what their members can find for free online, they must transcend the traditional notion of information delivery and focus on learning. “Conference organizers must move from a focus on delivering information as their primary product for education or they will face major disruption and even extinction,” writes Hurt. “Securing a speaker from a call for proposals is no longer enough.” Don’t just give your conference attendees information. They can get that from the Internet. Give them something more.

What cool reads have you found today? Let us know in the comments.


Anita Ferrer

By Anita Ferrer

Anita Ferrer is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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